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December 18, 2001
The wedding season starts in December. And we had the privilege of attending two weddings on the same night.
Fardeen Khan is to tie the knot with Sonali Kulkarni at Patel Wadi and Amrita Arora to Ayub Khan at Sardar Wadi.
Incidentally, both the 'wedding pandals' are erected opposite each other.
This is one of the dramatic scenes in producer-director Mehul Kumar's Kitne Door Kitne Paas.
The two huge sets, erected in Kamalistan Studios, has a capacity of two thousand people, witnessing the ceremonies. Suddenly, the pandal where Amrita is getting married catches fire. Chaos breaks loose, as people start running around. Full marks to Bhiku Verma for his mind-blowing effects.
Mehul Kumar has now come up with a youthful love story, quite different from his usual patriotic and action films. On being asked about this changing trend, he says, "My style has always been different. Earlier, when innumerable love stories were made, I did action. Now, with the success of historical and patriotic films like Gadar -- Ek Prem Katha and Lagaan, I will do a love story.
Speaking about the wedding sequence, Mehul says that it is the climax of the film. "It is the twist to the story. The film is based on a Gujarati family. The subject is based on people living in Kheda district in Gujarat where, till today, they prefer an American damad (son-in-law)".
The story is simple. Jatin (Fardeen Khan) and Karishma (Amrita Arora) return to India from America. Before the journey, they bump into each other at a shopping mall in New York. The meeting is disastrous. They get into a fight, and start hating each other.
But destiny has them travelling to India together. There are mishaps and hardships all the way home. After their flight to Delhi, they travel by road -- in a private taxi and a pilgrimage bus -- to Gujarat. At this juncture, a dramatic scene changes the whole scenario and the two fall in love.
Mehul loves shooting abroad. "We have canned songs and scenes in Brisbane and Gold Coast in a 20-day spell. It was completely tension free."
With this film, Mehul shifts from his favourite actor Nana Patekar to Fardeen Khan. Says the director, "Fardeen Khan is a versatile actor and fitted the role perfectly.
"Established heroines are over-exposed and the audience immediately identifies with the character. A love story will get the due attention only if the girl is new. Amrita has been the right choice for the role of Karishma. Besides, both Fardeen and Amrita have that elite look," he adds.
As soon Amrita finishes her shot, she is surrounded by journalists. "This is an ideal launch. I hope for a positive feedback," she says excitedly. Having featured in ad films like Close-up, Ponds, Sunsilk Shampoo and Polar fan, she is not camera conscious.
After her elder sister, Malaika Arora, Amrita anchored several shows for MTV like Chill Out and MTV Ek Do Teen. Mehul Kumar had spotted her on one of those programmes and the search for 'Karishma' was over.
About KDKP she says, "The film is based on a theory of destiny. Fardeen made me very comfortable on the sets and also participating in the rehearsals. I want to be like Madhuri Dixit," she keeps her fingers crossed.
Besides this film, Amrita has producer Firoze Nadiawala and director Vikram Bhatt's Awara Pagal Deewana coming up. Padmalaya's next venture, opposite Tusshar Kapoor, and produced by Salman Khan is also in her kitty.
Fardeen Khan is missing. So is Sonali Kulkarni.
Ayub Khan is eager to share his views. "Acting is a learning experience for me. I don't mind doing small roles at all." The actor also stars in JP Dutta's LoC.
Speaking about the music of KDKP, Mehul says, "The songs are poetic. Music directors Sanjeev Darshan have provided melodious tunes."
The film also stars Govind Namdeo, Shama Deshpande, Ketaki Dave, Tiku Talsania, Beena, Nasir Khan and Satish Shah.
KDKP is slated to release in January 2002.
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